Should the Army acommodate sikhs who do not cut their hair? (The Infidel 2016-03-31)

Should the Army acommodate sikhs who do not cut their hair? (The Infidel 2016-03-31)


FFRF Halts Public School Coach from Organizing
Public Prayer Last May, the Freedom From Religion Foundation
sent a letter to the North Branch Area Schools Superintendent Thomas English informing him
that North Branch High softball coach Willie Deschetsky was leading his team in prayer,
including pictures of him prayerfully holding hands with the team. In the letter, FFRN Staff Attorney Rebecca
Markert wrote, “It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead their team
in prayer. Public school coaches must refrain not only from leading their students in prayers,
but also from participating in prayers themselves. It is unconstitutional for public school employees
to participate in the religious activities of their students.” The foundation finally received a response
from North Branch Athletic Director James Fish a few weeks ago stating that, “Coach
Willie Deshetsky was officially informed he cannot organize, advocate or lead the softball
team in prayer.” FFRF co-president Dan Barker praised the school
district’s decision saying, “Public schools must protect their students from being pressured
to pray. And coaches need to know that they can’t expect student athletes to pray to play.” A hairy struggle The U.S. Military faces a legal struggle that
has grown quite hairy – literally. The case under consideration has landmark potential;
according to Eric Baxter, senior council at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing
a Sikh U.S. Army captain by the name of Simratpal Singh in a controversy over hairstyles, and
the boundaries of religious liberty. His council, Baxter, remarks that: “Getting a court order
against the Army is huge – it almost never happens.” A recently filed federal lawsuit addresses
the issue of the Army’s stringent grooming standards, and how these standards intersect
with religious liberty. The Sikhs worship a ‘Sole Formless Lord’ as a supreme being,
according to the writings of high-ranking Gurus. Among the prohibitions of that faith, there
is a vow to never remove hair from any part of one’s body, as part of an act of acceptance
towards ‘God’s Will’. Captain Singh risked the displeasure of his deity upon his entry
into West Point in 2006. At that time, he applied for an exemption for his religiously-mandated
beard, but did not receive one. He shaved at this time, but later decided to campaign
for a permanent exemption. Captain Singh is a Bronze Star recipient,
and risked his life removing roadside bombs in Afghanistan. “I am proud to fight for
my country, which includes fighting to protect others’ religious beliefs,” Singh stated
after receiving a temporary accommodation. So far, one hundred members of Congress have
supported permanent accommodations for Sikh grooming habits, but the U.S. Army is slow
to change, despite having granted such exemptions for Sikhs in non-combat positions. A papal rejection “We would have wanted to talk to him about
our story,” complained David Ridsdale, a childhood victim of the Catholic Church’s most pervasive
scandal in centuries. Speculation is inevitable concerning why Pope Francis appears to have
denied a meeting with a group of 15 Australian abuse survivors. The current treasurer of the Vatican, Cardinal
George Pell, was visiting Australia to submit evidence as part of the ongoing investigation
of the child sexual abuse scandal as experienced Down Under. George Pell was a bishop in Australia
between the 1970’s and 80’s. Now, he gives testimony via video link to a government commission. But the survivors were truly interested in
presenting their story to Pope Francis. For these victims, the official Vatican response
that they did not go through the proper channels to secure a meeting with the Pontiff rings
hollow. “We made every effort to go through every
channel we possibly could,” insists Ridsdale. The survivors presented faxed documents to
numbers provided by Pell’s office, and copies of exchanges over the possibility of a meeting
with the Pope, in the hopes that he could have “assisted us, by vocalizing his support,
and acknowledging the mistakes of the past.” No such recognition is forthcoming, despite
the paper trail brandished by the abuse victims; as a Vatican spokesman maintains that no request
for a meeting came through
the propel channels.

6 comments

  1. We up here in the Great Frozen North already allow Sikh troops to maintain their cultural trappings, as long as the overall appearance is still neat & professional. Turbans must also match uniforms, being black or dark green, or dark blue for RCMP constables. Unit or Regimental insignia must be worn with the turban, however.  The only other issue would be interference with the fit of helmets or gas masks.

  2. Does the hair interfere with his ability to defend the country? No? Well then, what's the problem?

    It should be noted that the short hair cuts the military employs serve part of the purpose of breaking down the individual psychologically and open them up to forming a new "community group" (the army instead of the community, family, race or religion) as the primary affiliation.

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